Feel the power

This project has been floating around the lab for a while and I’m realizing I should get it running.

The idea is to make a generation system (perhaps pedaled) to power appliances such as a lamp, computer and toaster. I called it Feel the Power since you will be able to get a sense for how much energy these appliances use. Not in watts but in sweat and exertion.

Here is the chain of parts.

Mechanical Energy

I need some sort of pedaling, rowing or rip cord system so that people can give their energy to the system.


I’ve already got some of these 24V, 350W DC motors. I’m assuming they will make good generators. For making toast, there will need to be multiple people making the energy so I wonder if it’s easy to chain these together electrically? Perhaps in parallel with some sort of control so if there’s just one person pedaling the idle motors are out of the circuit?

I expect that lots of time there would be just one person pedaling but for toast, the grand finale, we need a way to mechanically gang the citizens or electrically gang generators.

What do you think is the best way to make this scalable up to about 1000 or 1500 Watts?

Bear in mind a human can’t put out anywhere near that kind of power so we need to gang the humans to get this to work.


200 bucks seems to get something like the one described below. I’m not sure if we’ll base on 24 or 12V. But this is a 12V based one. There are some cheaper ones that are 24V and they bring the power up to 220 instead of 120. That might be worth it if the appliances can handle but stuff like a light or toaster may not work properly.

Continuous Power: 1500 Watts
Surge Power: 3000 Watts
3 grounded AC receptacles
Peak efficiency (12V – 1/2 load) > 88%
Protection: Overload, Short Circuit, Overtemp, Reverse Polarity, Under/Over Voltage
USB Output- 5V Allows charging and operation of modern office devices such as iPod’s, Blackberry’s and cell phones.
LED Function/Status Meter
LED volt/meter , Remote on/off capable
Instruction Manual Included
2 Cooling Fans
Production Condition: Brand New
Part Number: CPI1575 (CPI-1575)
2 Year Warranty: (1 Year Manufacturer Warranty + 1 Year VMinnovations Warranty)